Among the council’s actions during its Tuesday night meeting was to approve work on the first phase of a walking trail project funded with a $100,000 Department of Natural Resources grant. The project, which was originally slated to have been completed by the end of 2013, received an extension into 2014 after the application phase stretched on longer than expected, said Planning and Zoning Administrator Ron Goss. Work could begin in roughly a week on the approved $116,305 pavilion near Osborne Park and the $2,100 removal of two trees to make way for the pavilion. A total of 1.5 miles of trail are included in the first phase.
Council member Joseph Turner expressed concerns about the possibility of the pavilion being vandalized, and asked if the structure could be moved nearer to the city’s Granary. Goss said that was not possible due to DNR rules, and he suggested the purchase of security cameras. He also suggested purchasing cameras for the covered bridge and Lowry Mill, once that project is completed.
The council also approved a resolution on phase two of the DNR trail project, for which the city will receive another $100,000 grant.
Euharlee Police Chief Terry Harget gave the council a summary of the department’s activity for all of 2013, which included filing 11,223 incident reports, 43 accidents, 143 arrests, 134 issued warrants, 2,088 traffic stops, 991 citations and 1,318 warnings. Euharlee police also drove a total of 99,280 miles on patrol, Harget added.
“Larceny and theft was our No. 1 crime. We had a theft ring operating in the Westminster, Milam Circle area, entering autos, back in early summer where four juveniles and one adult was arrested,” Harget said. “It was 13 different case numbers that really increased our theft in the city.”
Following Harget’s report, Thayer asked him to take 60 to 90 days to consider how to reduce the top two crimes in the city over the following year, the possibility of identifying and marking abandoned buildings within city limits and starting a citizen’s police academy. Harget and City Manager Trish Sullivan said they were already discussing the possibility of a citizen’s academy.
After the city council approved a resolution supporting the Etowah River Water Trail, Coosa River Basin Initiative Executive Director Joe Cook spoke to the council on the organization’s efforts to create the trail, install uniform signage and improve access to the river.
“We have been working with Bartow County to establish a launch at U.S. [Highway] 411 at the Floyd County side of the river, right there at the corner of Macedonia Road and 411,” Cook said. “So we’ll be putting in a new boat ramp and a parking area there with funds that we’ve secured and Bartow County is going to be doing the work, and we hope to be breaking ground sometime this spring.
“... We’re very excited about that and it’s going to be a great thing for Euharlee because then you’ll be able to in here at Euharlee at y’all’s launch and float downriver to a developed access point. You won’t have to haul your boat up a steep ramp or steep bank and you’ll have a nice parking area, and hopefully, that will also help control some of the use that takes place at that ... spot.”
Before the end of the meeting, the council heard from resident Fred Werner, who expressed concern about the number of projects the city was taking on, and if they would ever be reported to the public as finished. He asked if total costs on the projects, such as Joe Cowan Park, would be released when they were completed.
Sullivan said the information would be available from city hall, while Thayer supported the idea of releasing the information.
Werner also asked for the website to be updated with current information and be updated regularly with the council’s actions and minutes. Sullivan said the website was undergoing an upgrade and would be online in approximately two weeks.
Werner then asked about Euharlee’s status as a Georgia Municipal Association certified City of Ethics, and was told the city received the certification in 2012 after the council passed a resolution.
In other business, the Euharlee City Council:
• Approved an adjustment to the 2013 budget in relation to governing body travel and municipal court expenses.
• Approved $17,025.73 in monthly payables.
• Approved an emergency repair request for the Lowry Mill project in an amount not to exceed $1,000.
• Heard an update on the Five Forks Road project.
• Approved council member Steve Worthington as mayor pro-tem.
• Appointed Richard Wilson to the Historic Preservation Commission dependant on John Montgomery handing in his written resignation from the commission.
The Euharlee City Council’s next meeting is scheduled for Jan. 21 at 7 p.m. at city hall.